Skip to main content

Should sundown/sunrise interest you the village of Raufarhofn offers probably the best views in the month of June. PIC Brian@HKG

I f you have come this far in Iceland you have probably seen the whole island. Reason being that the village of Raufarhofn is situated on the least visited part of the whole island of Iceland by either locals themselves or foreign tourists.

There is actually a reason why these parts are less frequented than others by anyone. For an island jam-packed with stunning natural beauty this part is doubtless one of the least beautiful part of Iceland. A large chunks of the land here is just plain flat as far as the eye can see. This needs not make it less attracting in itself but when other parts are loaded with stunning peaks, weird cliffs, amazing waterfalls, deep fjords, elves and trolls and whatever else makes a landscape extra beautiful this suddenly seems not just plain but also ordinary.

It is here that the village of Raufarhofn is situated and this fishing village is the one of the easternmost villages in the country. The village itself has been steadily declining for decades but it was once upon a time the second most important fishing port in the country. At that time over two thousand people lived here. Today they barely number 200. That, in itself, should say everything.

Like any declining town anywhere there is an aura of pessimism surrounding the village and its people. Outsiders soon realize this and this in itself makes it harder still to appreciate what there is to see and do here.

Whilst Raufarhofn village does not offer much of anything the plain flats to the North of here, Melrakkasletta, is worth exploring and the village makes a good base for excursions. As mentioned it seems flat and uninteresting but that is not actually the case on closer inspection. Melrakkasletta plain is probably the least touched large area in the country apart from Hornstrandir in the Westfjords and even in high summer you are not likely to meet many people around. But you are certain to see quite a bit of life. Seals frequent the shores here and birds find this place appealing. Quite a few lakes are scattered around and fine fishing in some of them.

In Raufarhofn you will find the basic stuff you need. A gas station, convenient store, post office and a bank. Also here is a campsite and the hotel Nordurljos with onsite restaurant. The gas station serves fast food.

Raufarhofn also boast of the aptly named Arctic Henge. This is a pretty excellent round stone formation just a walk away from the village. Entirely man-made and recent too but certainly worth a walkabout.

Some enterprising locals or tour operators have spread the rumor that Raufarhofn is pretty much the arctic town of Iceland due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle does not really touch Iceland per se but does cross the small island of Grimsey belonging to Iceland about 40 kilometers north of the main landmass and some distance from Raufarhofn village.

» One fantastic thing: Raufarhofn can offer is probably the best views of sundown/sunrise in June each year due to unlimited sights far North. As you know the sun so far North does not set during this time and one thing you will never forget is taking a seat and watch as the sun begins its sundown only to abandon that attempt and rise again. The picture above is taken in early June at 02:30 at night.

» Route 85 from Husavik town or Vopnafjordur town. The most scenic route is from Modrudalur on the Ring Road on road 864 and onwards to road 85 from there.

» A fine stop for bird lovers and great also should you feel the need to feel alone in this world Ample opportunities here. As for the village itself it doesn´t really offer anything of interest

View The village of Raufarhofn Iceland in a larger map